Property Ownership in Costa Rica

Just like in the United States, Canada and Europe, there are different types of property available to purchase: fee simple, concessions and condominiums. Understanding these various types and the implications of each to you, the buyer is critical in the evaluation process. In addition, knowing how to protect your property and the zoning laws in Costa Rica is important before signing any agreement.

Fee Simple

The most comprehensive form of property ownership in Costa Rica is fee simple ownership. The conditions for this type of ownership are the same for Costa Rican nationals as they are for foreigners. The concept is the same in Costa Rica as in the United States, Canada and Europe; namely, fee simple ownership gives the owner of the property the absolute right to materially own the property, use it, enjoy it, sell it, lease it, improve it, among other uses, subject only to conditions outlined by Costa Rican law.

Concessions in the Shoreline Zone

Beachfront property is more commonly known as “concession property.” In Costa Rica, 95% of beachfront property is concession property and is governed by the Shoreline Zone Law (Law No. 6043) and other specific regulations including but not limited to special dispositions ensuing from local governments (i.e. municipalities) and the Costa Rican Board of Tourism (ICT). These legal dispositions establish the conditions under which foreigners and local residents can lease concession property.
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